Little to see in Benin’s administrative capital

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Things to do


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January, 2024

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Cotonou is for all intents and purposes Benin’s capital, although the official capital is the smaller Porto-Novo, just 30km away. Whilst we stayed in Cotonou for three nights, using it as a base for excursions, we found little to see in the city itself. However, this is set to change with President Patrice Talon’s ‘Benin Revealed’ programme, designed to promote beach and cultural tourism.

A striking, new 30m tall landmark, the Amazon Statue, has been erected on what is now known as Amazon Esplanade. It honours the women-warriors of the Kingdom of Dahomey and was unveiled in 2022, to coincide with the international film about the warriors, the Woman King, starring Viola Davis.

The Port of Cotonou is undergoing a US$680 million upgrade and hoardings to hide the work had been painted with fabulous, brightly coloured murals and walking alongside was as good as visiting an outdoor art gallery.

So that was about it, and it was clear why our itinerary had trips out, although one to the official capital of Porto-Novo, was equally disappointing.

Helen Jackson

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